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Colonial St. Kitts

Honeymoon - St. Kitts

sunny 28 °C
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After a sea day, this morning we awoke to find we had arrived in St. Kitts. Together with Nevis, this is the most recent British Caribbean island to have gained independence - just 39 years ago. It is also the smallest independent country in the western hemisphere, with only three Pacific island nations, and three European microstates beating it from the eastern hemisphere.

After breakfast we headed out for our Excursion for the day - a quick tour of the capital, followed by a trip to a former plantation and then to a fortress. The port here was a relatively large passenger friendly port - completely different from the last two.

Port Zante

Port Zante

Bizarrely, when on a cruise you don't get your passports looked at, and sometimes don't even need to take them with you. It makes it easy to get on and off the ship, as your room card identifies you, but it does mean that it's difficult to get a passport stamp. Here, we managed to get ourselves one, as there was an immigration office inside the main gateway (although it had appeared to be empty when we first walked in! Two officials sitting in an isolated room two doors in!).

We then went and queued up for our excursion. There were loads of excursions today and they were all queued up next to each other - it was like lining up at school! Then we were led over to a minibus where the tour guide ran over the essentials and advised the driver would be there soon. Then he walked over to the driver's seat got in, and announced he was in fact also the driver!

We began by heading out of the terminal, and driving into Basseterre. We drove past the old port gate entrance, followed by the clock tower, before arriving at Independence Square.

Independence Square

Independence Square

This square was renamed in September 1983, but was previously know as Pall Mall Square, and was the location of the original Slave Market, where enslaved Africans were bought and sold.

Being home to just 14,000 people, Basseterre wasn't very big, and after driving past the cathedral we were already heading out of the town. We drove west along the south side of the island, passing several of the international universities, and through lots of villages before we arrived at Wingfield Estate, seeing the ruins of a sugar plantation.

Former Railway line serving the Estate

Former Railway line serving the Estate

Behind this, is Romney Manor, the manor house that the owners, including one of the ancestors of the third US president, Thomas Jefferson lived in.

Romney Manor

Romney Manor

The manor has now been transformed into botanical gardens, and a batik (wax dying) factory, where locals showed us the art.

Batik

Batik

After a bit of time spent here, we then continued further west and headed to Brimstone Hill, one of the Caribbean's best preserved fortresses. As the island is volcanic and has steep sides in this area, the fort sits at around 300m above sea level and therefore has beautiful views over the nearby areas, including the Dutch islands of Sint Eustatius and Saba - which ironically is the highest point within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, despite being 4200 miles from the mainland.

Brimstone Hill

Brimstone Hill

After a long and windy route up the mountain side we arrived at the fort to find it in exceptional condition. Inside the fort, the museum detailed the history of the fort, showing how throughout the 1900s the fort was restored, and was reopened by Prince Charles in 1973, before being made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

Brimstone Hill Fortress

Brimstone Hill Fortress

The museum also had information about the Slave Trade and the Imperial Age, discussing how St. Kitts was at one time divided between the British (in the centre) and the French (on the east and west sides).

After wandering around the area and enjoying the stunning views, we boarded the bus and headed back to the Port. Whilst the weather until now had been glorious and sunny, en route we got caught in a huge rainstorm. But as was usual in this part of the world, it lasted just a few minutes before the weather brightened up again.

When we got back to the port we then bought ourselves a postcard, before heading back into the town. We wanted to get some better pictures of the sights, and so headed over to Independence Square, and went inside the cathedral.

Inside the Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral

Before heading into the port, we stopped at the supermarket to get some drinks, and then headed back to the ship. As this was a large passenger friendly port, the authority had also laid on some local dancing for us to enjoy.

Local Dancers

Local Dancers

Getting back from the excursion we arrived in the cabin to find a useful guide to all the Covid protocols in each port - just a shame we'd already been to three of them...

After spending the afternoon around the pool enjoying cocktails and snacks, we went to some entertainment this evening. The on board brochure had advertised "The Pursuit", a gameshow which was essentially ITV's The Chase. One of the entertainment team would play "The Pursuer", whilst three audience members would compete to win a P&O goody bag.

"The Pursuit"

"The Pursuit"

One of the selected competitors was a rather skanky looking lady from Gloucester. Although when they asked her to repeat where she was from as they couldn't quite catch what she'd said through her face mask she shouted out "Fred West". Not sure the serial killer who buried several women and his own daughter in his back yard is what I'd have said to remind people of the cathedral city on England's longest river but well... looking at the state of her maybe she knew him?

They asked her what she did for a job. "Retired" she said. To looks of bemusement - how could she be retired when she's clearly no older than her late 40s? Then she announced that she'd won the lottery! Well, I guess that explains why she was there with a bunch of kids - some of them were probably her own, and others we assumed must be their partners?

In the end the contestants won the game. After a bit of fun watching this, we headed back to the cabin for the night as tomorrow we'd have yet another island to explore!

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 15:21 Archived in St Kitts/Nevis Tagged islands fort cathedral port caribbean games colony botanicalgarden Comments (0)

Beyond Britain

Cornwall - Salisbury, Shaftesbury, Camborne, Penzance & Isles of Scilly

semi-overcast 19 °C
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Just ten days after getting back from Lithuania, our next holiday was upon us. We were going to take a road trip down to Cornwall, similar to the one we took back in 2016 to the Bristol area, although this time it would be longer.

Avoiding the upcoming school holidays, which would add even more travel time to this already long enough journey, we travelled down on Thursday morning after rush hour with plans to stop off and break up the journey en route. After around 2 hours we reached the first stopping point - Salisbury.

Salisbury is an old traditional city in Wiltshire, and has a couple of sights. The first we planned to stop at was Old Sarum - the old hilltop where the city was previously located. However when we arrived we changed our minds about entering - it seemed very overpriced and we weren't going to stop for long, so instead we got back in the car and headed to the centre of the city.

We then stopped at Salisbury Cathedral, one of the most impressive cathedrals in the UK, and also took a look at one of the surviving copies of the Magna Carta which is on display here.

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

Dodging any traces of Novichok after walking past the Zizzi's restaurant, we had a look around the city centre before heading back to the car to drive across Cranborne Chase, to our next stop in Shaftesbury.

Shaftesbury is a very small town in north Dorset, which we stopped at due to the beautiful Gold Hill, a steep cobbled street made famous by the Hovis bread advert.

Gold Hill

Gold Hill

After a short stop viewing the hill, we then carried on with our long drive, stopping off at the odd service station before finally entering Cornwall. Not long later we made it to Bodmin Moor, where we stopped off at the Jamaica Inn, a traditional coaching inn with a history of smuggling.

Jamaica Inn

Jamaica Inn

Eventually after spending all day driving down to Cornwall we arrived in Camborne, where we would be staying for the next four nights. However we still needed to grab dinner and food for the weekend, so we quickly headed back out to grab a quick meal. Whilst there we stopped by a local tin mine that had been converted into an attraction, before stopping by the local supermarket to buy supplies and fill up with petrol.

Mine

Mine

The time driving between home and Exeter and that of Exeter and western Cornwall was almost the same, despite the latter being a much shorter distance. Although the roads in Cornwall were not as bad as I had been expecting, they were certainly substandard with many bottlenecks, even on the major arterial roads. By the time we had arrived I had already taken the view that we should see everything now so we didn't need to come back and visit for another 25 years!

Having been a long day today, and with an early start the following morning, we took an early night. Annoyingly though I couldn't sleep, and in the end I must have got less than two hours all night - not ideal!

Nevertheless as the morning progressed I didn't feel quite so bad, so we continued with our plan to visit the Isles of Scilly - there would still be time to turn back, but ultimately this was unnecessary, even though I did start to develop gum/toothache.

Penzance Harbour

Penzance Harbour

We had arrived nice and early ready to board the boat for our 2hr45m journey from Penzance into the Atlantic. Having napped during the boat trip, eventually arriving at midday we had four hours to wander around Hugh Town, the largest town on St. Mary's - the largest island in the archipelago.

Hugh Town

Hugh Town

The sea around the islands is a luscious blue, and there are an array of more tropical plants growing naturally than can be seen on Great Britain. It had a mix of a Mediterranean feel, mixed with traditional English buildings. We started by taking a walk up the hill to the west of the town, before walking around the town itself.

Beach

Beach

After having lunch at a local restaurant we headed towards the west end of the town, sitting by the beach as well as waking up the hill.

Views over Hugh Town

Views over Hugh Town

By now it was almost time to head home, we boarded the boat and found it much busier than the outward bound trip this morning. Being a Friday afternoon there were lots of returning school children headed back to the mainland. Unfortunately we got stuck amongst them, and one group (with their ringleader 'Ella') proceed on shouting "Merry Christmas" to every passing peer. After three hours this became quite tiresome, especially as she was dressed like a slut parading around with tiny shorts and a massive hoodie.

Finally we arrived back in Penzance, and after squeezing past all the parents waiting for their annoying children, we made it back to the car and headed back to the hotel, where hopefully I could get some sleep tonight!

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 03:38 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged islands boat beach summer cathedral cornwall Comments (0)

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